Endowment Fund Q&A
Our endowment fund helps ensure the future of Second Unitarian Church by enhancing our mission and promoting Unitarian Universalist principles in the community. The endowment fund expenditures may only be used for limited purposes, and such funds are separate and independent from the annual operating budget. Once certain criteria are met and upon approval by the Board of Trustees and a majority vote of the Congregation, endowment funds may be utilized for the qualifying purposes set forth in the Bylaws.
Here are some frequently asked questions about our endowment:
Is the Endowment Fund only for the wealthy members of the congregation?
Certainly not! You need not be wealthy to leave a meaningful legacy at Second Unitarian Church. We accept and appreciate all contributions. Whatever you choose to give will be combined with the donations of others to do more than any of us can do alone. By contributing to the Endowment Fund, you support Second Unitarian as a continuing beacon of liberal religion in West Omaha.
How will my bequest to the Endowment Fund be recognized?
If you wish to have public recognition of your commitment in your final plans, we have decals you can place on your church name tag and you can choose to be recognized in the church directory. Or, you can choose to remain anonymous if you prefer.
How To Make An Endowment Fund Contribution
How are financial commitments to the Endowment Fund made?
Gifts can be made to the Endowment Fund at any time, including while an individual is alive. However, most financial commitments are made at death as a bequest that is a proportion of the value of an individual’s estate or as a specified dollar amount.
What should it say in my will or estate plans to make a financial commitment to the Endowment Fund?
Include wording in your estate planning documents that states, “I give [$XX,XXX.00 dollars or Y% of my estate] to the Second Unitarian Church of Omaha Endowment Fund.” These words will help your estate administrator (executor or trustee) know and implement your final wishes.
Do I have to specify that my donation should go to the Endowment Fund?
Yes. You should specify that your donation is intended to go to the Endowment Fund. If you do not specify that your donation be allotted to the Endowment Fund, your gift will be treated as a general gift to Second Unitarian, added to the general church budget and used as the Board of Trustees determines.
Is there an expected or suggested financial commitment amount?
No. The amount you give to the Endowment Fund is totally at your discretion.
What about my kids? Can I leave them something, too?
Of course! It’s your money: You can structure your planned giving however you like! Some congregants like to leave everything to their children with other organizations receiving funds only if the children are above a certain age or are no longer alive. Other congregants like to leave a portion of their estate (a percentage or set dollar amount) to the Endowment Fund or as a general gift to Second Unitarian. How you structure it is determined by your desires!
Who do you recommend (attorney, financial planner, estate planner) to help me?
We do not give financial advice or endorse anyone. If you do not have a professional advisor, ask your friends, fellow congregants or research online to find one that fits your needs. Or search for “endowment” on our closed Facebook page to see who other congregants have used.
How do I give a donation to the Endowment Fund while I am living?
One method is by utilizing Second Unitarian Church’s online donation page, where you may donate specifically to the “Endowment Fund,” which is located under GIFTS.
Or, you may mail a check to the church with “Endowment Fund” written in the memo line. Mail to:
Second Unitarian Church
3012 S. 119th St.
Omaha, NE 68144
Authorized Endowment Fund Expenditures
How does an Endowment Fund donation relate to my regular pledge?
The Endowment Fund is separate from your regular annual pledge. A congregant’s regular pledge is used to fund the annual operating budget. The Endowment Fund distributions may only be used for limited purposes which are further discussed below.
What can Endowment Funds be used for?
The Bylaws provide that Endowment Fund distributions may be used for only four categories of expenditures. The Bylaws are clear that Endowment Fund distributions may not be used to fund the annual operating budget or support services (unless Second Unitarian Church is experiencing particular, temporary, difficult circumstances and a 2/3 majority of the congregation authorizes the use of such Endowment Fund distributions for annual operating expenses).
Please provide examples of items that cannot be funded with Endowment Fund distributions.
Endowment Fund distributions cannot be used for the following nonexclusive list of items that are funded by the annual operating budget:
- Minister or administrative staff salaries, insurance and other benefits
- Monthly utilities (electric, gas, cable, internet)
- Postage, copying fees
- Janitorial services
- Lawn care
- Snow removal
- Insurance premium payments
- Recurring, periodic denominational dues, e.g., OTOC
- Loan interest and other periodic finance charges or fees (banking fees)
Please provide examples of items that can be funded with Endowment Fund distributions.
Endowment Fund distributions can be used for the following nonexclusive list of items that are set forth in the Bylaws:
- Capital expenditures such as:
- Renovations to the sanctuary or the building exterior facilities:
- Disability ramp
- New doors or windows
- Replacement HVAC system
- Carpet replacement
- New roof/gutters/drainage
- Security system
- New chimney
- New equipment:
- Laptop computers
- Audio Visual Equipment
- Furniture and fixtures
- Renovations to the sanctuary or the building exterior facilities:
- Outreach to the community such as:
- Local social service agencies to which the congregation relates
- Wider mission of Unitarian Universalism such as:
- Stipends for ministerial interns in training with the Church
- Scholarships or grants to qualifying Church members or their dependents
- Scholarship application is required
Why can’t we use Endowment Fund distributions to cover the salaries of those employed by Second Unitarian?
Because salaries are covered under the annual operating budget.
I am a member of Second Unitarian Church of Omaha. How do I voice my opinion about how the Endowment Fund distributions are used?
You may let the Endowment Fund Committee hear your voice by completing our application form. Although completing an application doesn’t guarantee that your suggestions will be advanced by the Endowment Fund Committee to the Board of Trustees, the application is the only way the Endowment Fund Committee will consider your recommendation. See Forms, where you may fill out an application by clicking on the Endowment Fund Distribution Application.
I am a member of Second Unitarian Church of Omaha, and I would like my teenager to apply for the Endowment Fund Scholarship to attend college. If they apply, will they be awarded the scholarship?
It depends. The Endowment Fund Committee will evaluate all needs of Second Unitarian Church when it recommends to the Board of Trustees how Endowment Fund distributions should be spent. Scholarships may be a lower priority after necessary capital improvements to the sanctuary or the building exterior facilities. Beyond that, a substantial scholarship application is required for the Endowment Fund Committee to evaluate potential recipients. There are no guarantees that your teenager will be awarded the scholarship if they complete the application. For more information on how to apply, please see Forms, where you will find an Endowment Fund Scholarship Application.
Dissolution of the Endowment Fund at Second Unitarian
What happens to the Endowment Fund if the Second Unitarian Church is dissolved?
Our bylaws state that if our congregation were to dissolve, any assets, including the Endowment Fund, shall be distributed to MidAmerica Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association, or another Unitarian Universalist entity as determined by the Board of Trustees.
The UUA has further ways to help you think about planned giving under the UU umbrella. Click here to learn more.
We are a 501 (c)(3) charitable non-profit organization. To learn more about any tax advantages to donating to us, please consult with your tax advisor. For assistance in estate planning, meet with a financial planner, attorney or estate planner of your choice. They can assist you in setting up your gifts so you can continue to help the world.